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17 items from 2002

Oprah Avoids Injury As Tent Collapses

20 December 2002 | WENN | See recent WENN news »

Talk show queen Oprah Winfrey narrowly escaped injury in Johannesburg, South Africa, on Tuesday when a marquee collapsed at a Christmas party. The media mogul was in South Africa to present gifts to schoolkids when the tent staged for the hand-out collapsed, injuring 10 people. Wind toppled the tent at Cholphasie Secondary School, but Oprah was outside the tent at the time. Two of those taken to hospital were children. »

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King World cuts creative crew

19 November 2002 | The Hollywood Reporter | See recent The Hollywood Reporter news »

The entire program development team of King World Prods. is departing the company, including syndication veteran Steven Nalevansky, senior vp programming and development, a company spokesman confirmed Monday. Many industry insiders saw the sudden shutdown of the team as ironic in view of the fact that King World is enjoying its biggest syndication hit since The Oprah Winfrey Show with this season's new talk strip Dr. Phil. However, King World's role in Dr. Phil has been more focused on the distribution than the development. The show was developed by Oprah Winfrey's Harpo Prods. and produced by Paramount. Other creative team members leaving King World's program development wing include vp development Vanessa Coffey, manager Mark Severino and Mary Duffy, vp production and development, East Coast. Coffey resigned before the team was abolished. Sources confirmed that a new creative team is being recruited to replace them. »

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Oprah Tells All About Rape Secret

11 October 2002 | WENN | See recent WENN news »

Media mogul Oprah Winfrey is set to shock fans in the pages of her magazine O by agreeing to pen an open letter about her rape horror when she was just nine. The talk show titan and publisher admits she felt compelled to write the piece to help parents understand how the rape of an innocent affects a young child. She writes, "I first learned about sex the year I was nine. I was living in Milwaukee that summer, staying in an uncle's home, when a 19-year-old cousin raped me. As I trembled and cried, he took me for an ice-cream and convinced me not to tell - and for 12 years I didn't. When you are sexually violated, it's not the physical act that destroys you. It's the weight of the secret you feel you have to keep, the person you have to become so no one will discover what you're hiding." Oprah refuses to name names in the piece, which will appear in the new issue of the magazine. »

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J.Lo "Cheated" on Judd with Affleck

20 September 2002 | WENN | See recent WENN news »

Latina babe Jennifer Lopez began her romance with Ben Affleck while she was still in a relationship with her now-estranged husband Cris Judd - according to the dancer's father Larry. J.LO's ex-father-in-law told American tabloid The National Enquirer that Jennifer began an extra-marital affair with her new love Ben on the set of Gigli in February, just five months after her fairytale wedding to Cris on September 29 2001. Larry claims the "I'm Real" hitmaker, 31, pressed the marriage issue and was happy with Cris until she began filming Gigli with Ben. Larry explains, "She was leaving the house at 5 a.m. and she wouldn't return until after 10 p.m... Jennifer was spending more time with Ben, and Ben made Cris feel unwelcome. Then in May, she told Cris that their marriage was over and she would be seeking a divorce. Jennifer did not conduct herself as a married woman, and Ben did not respect the fact that she was my son's wife. In May, she told Oprah Winfrey how happy she was being married to Cris. It was all a lie to protect her public image." And Larry claims Jennifer's romance with his son began way before they made their first public appearance at the March 2001 Oscars and ex-love Sean 'P Diddy' Combs made an official statement declaring the end of his relationship with the New York beauty on February 14 2001. Larry says, "There was talk that Jennifer rebounded to Cris after Puffy, but I don't believe that. They had been dating long before (Combs' club-shooting) trial began." The angry father has slammed reports his son was walking away from his brief marriage with a $15 million divorce settlement. Larry fumes, "Despite the fact his wife is one of the richest women in Hollywood, Cris chose not to seek his half of the community property split. As far as I know, my son walked away from his marriage with only his clothes, his new dog and his automobile." »

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Britney Is World's Top Celebrity

21 June 2002 | WENN | See recent WENN news »

Pop superstar Britney Spears is the world's top celebrity, according to Forbes magazine's annual power survey. The 20-year-old "Baby, One More Time" singer heads the list of 100 names based on their fortunes and the media attention they attract. Britney, who last year came fourth in the list, was said to have earned $40 million last year and enjoyed nearly a million hits on her website. She beat golfing star Tiger Woods, number two for the second year running, with movie mastermind Steven Spielberg third and pop queen Madonna fourth. Irish rockers U2 took fifth place and were the only non-Americans in the top 10. The remainder of the top 10 sees pop quintet 'N Sync at six, Mariah Carey at seven, Oprah Winfrey at eight, basketball legend Michael Jordan ninth and Oscar winner Tom Hanks coming in tenth. But last year's top celebrity, Tom Cruise, fails to make this year's list whatsoever following his divorce from actress Nicole Kidman, who takes 27th place. A Forbes spokesperson says, "We pointed out last year that his divorce could have a detrimental effect on his star status and earnings potential." »

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Oprah Reduces Cher To Tears

3 May 2002 | WENN | See recent WENN news »

Cher feels abused after talk show queen Oprah Winfrey aired a clip of a very personal moment - and reduced her to tears. Cher was shocked during a taping session when Oprah showed a film clip of her giving the eulogy for her ex- husband Sonny Bono at his 1998 funeral. A friend reveals, "Cher had never seen the footage and had no idea Oprah was going to run it. She was shocked by it. They were acting like it was a movie performance. Cher didn't know they even were filming at the funeral. She had to go back to her dressing room and reapply her false eyelashes. They had to stop the show for 45 minutes." Another pal says, "It was so horrible for them not to tell her. Cher came back on and talked about it, but she was stunned and surprised that they would have done that. She didn't want to see that and have it fresh in her memory." A representative for Oprah counters that Cher needed only five minutes to compose herself, and adds that "the footage of Sonny's funeral was part of a tribute to Cher's legacy and was never intended to upset her". Cher's spokeswoman says, "She was indeed very, very upset. Oprah apologized. She wasn't aware they hadn't told Cher ahead of time." »

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Clinton Mulling Own TV Talk Show

3 May 2002 | WENN | See recent WENN news »

Former United States President Bill Clinton has met executives from NBC to discuss hosting his own talk show. Although the talks are preliminary, one source said Clinton's interest was serious and he was demanding a fee of $50 million a year and had aspirations "of becoming the next Oprah Winfrey". Television industry sources say chances are slim that Clinton would commit to such a plan once he understands the demands of the job. The 55-year-old former president has told some Hollywood executives who have asked about a potential TV career that the rumors are untrue. Television executives doubted that Clinton would sign up for a demanding regimen of daily tapings for 39 weeks that such a show would require. Clinton has been making a handsome living since leaving the White House from speeches that pay $125,000 to $300,000 each. That is on top of his $12 million book deal. »

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Oprah Buys Historical Hawaiian Site

30 April 2002 | WENN | See recent WENN news »

Oprah Winfrey is buying up more property. The chatshow queen, who already owns a farm in northern Indiana, and a lavish holiday retreat in Montecito, California, has teamed up with her former personal trainer to snap up seven shoreline lots on a sacred 102 acre plot in Hawaii, to build several homes. Several archaeological sites exist on the Lehoula property, including a cinder cone called "Ka Iwi O Pele," or the bones of the volcano goddess Pele. Lehoula is also the site of the first Hawaiian fishpond. Winfrey's spokesman, Gideon Kaufman, said there will be no building on the cinder cone and added that Winfrey and Greene "want to be good neighbors". But State Senator J. Kalani English, whose family home is near the Hamoa Bay lots, is curious about how the new owners will view the community. He says, "We're very pleased that someone of her caliber and sensitivity to people has made a commitment to build a residence in Hamoa village. We'd like to invite her to meet with the community. We'll have a whole bunch of local food. Will she eat opihi? Will she eat raw fish? We'll try her out." »

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Oprah Closes Book Club

10 April 2002 | WENN | See recent WENN news »

Oprah Winfrey is scrapping her popular book club - because it's too hard to find enough good novels to plug. For six years, Winfrey has singled out her favorite new books and oldies each month on her TV show and lavished them with praise, causing their sales to go through the roof. Her picks turned unknowns into literary millionaires and won accolades from publishers for boosting reading among the masses. But she has now stunned the book world by announcing that she's pulling the plug on her monthly club. She says in a statement, "It has become harder and harder to find books on a monthly basis that I feel absolutely compelled to share. I will continue featuring books on the Oprah Winfrey Show when I feel they merit my heartfelt recommendation." Winfrey's decision came five months after Jonathan Franzen, the author of top-selling The Corrections, insulted her and refused to have the Oprah's Book Club stamp of approval. Winfrey retaliated by cancelling his invitation to her TV show, but he won the National Book Award for fiction in 2001 anyway and has stayed on bestseller lists for 29 weeks. »

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Oprah: White House Set Me Up

5 April 2002 | WENN | See recent WENN news »

Oprah Winfrey has hit back at White House officials after they claimed she was too busy to tour Afghan schools. Winfrey called her pal Star Jones, co-host of The View, before her show on Tuesday and told Jones it "was just not true" that she turned down President George W. Bush. Jones told viewers at the start of her show, "Oprah told me that she was approached several weeks back and was told that the plans were ultra-sensitive. She was really, really quiet and the White House said, 'Check your schedule, ' and she did but she had some fundraisers that she had committed to and anybody knows when you do these things ... people sell tickets expecting you to be there." Word first leaked last week that Winfrey declined to make the trip to Afghanistan. In a prepared statement from her office at Chicago-based Harpo Productions, Winfrey said she had too many other things to do. Jones continues, "The White House knew she wasn't going to be able to go, but (Bush adviser) Karen Hughes told her they were going anyway. So Oprah says for the last couple of weeks she thought, 'Oh, they had gone.' She said, 'So imagine my surprise, I wake up and read in the newspaper that I'm being cavalier, I'm too busy.'" »

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Oprah Inspired By Sidney Poitier

4 April 2002 | WENN | See recent WENN news »

Talk show queen Oprah Winfrey has one person to thank for her phenomenal success - Oscar-winning actor Sidney Poitier. Oprah says she's been a fan of Poitier since she was a little girl, and watching him collect an array of accolades over the years made her realise that she too could be a high achiever. She says, "I was 10 years old, sitting on the linoleum floor at home. My mother worked as a maid, and we were on welfare. Black people were still considered 'colored' at the time, and there was a colored man getting out of a limousine at the Academy Awards - Sidney Poitier - and I was just in awe of that. Then that night, he won the Oscar for Lilies Of The Field. And that did it for me, as a little girl, it said to me, 'That is possible. You can be colored and that can happen to you." »

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Winfrey Loses Eyelashes At Oscar Party

26 March 2002 | WENN | See recent WENN news »

Chat show queen Oprah Winfrey ditched her plans to spend a traditional Oscars night party at home with friends in because she knew it would be a historical night for African-Americans. Winfrey amazed revellers at the glitzy Vanity Fair party at Mortons in Hollywood by attending the event for the first time, admitting she had dreamt that Denzel Washington and Halle Berry would be winners. She told fellow guests, "There's just something in the planets that tells me it's going to be a very special night." Then, when Halle Berry became the first African-American to win a Best Actress Oscar and thanked Winfrey in her acceptance speech, Winfrey cried so hard that her false eyelashes came off. »

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Oprah's Speechless!

13 March 2002 | WENN | See recent WENN news »

Oprah Winfrey is quitting her popular talk show in 2006. The Mississippi-born star has presented and produced her self-titled since it began in 1986, after her Oscar-nominated big screen debut in The Color Purple. Oprah has just signed a deal to host the show until the 2005-2006 season, which is broadcast in over 100 countries worldwide. Matt Roush, editor of TV Guide says, "Oprah going off the air clearly will be a major moment in television. She's just so popular. She's become such an icon, whereas some of these other talk shows are more distractions." All eyes will be on Oprah's next career move, whether she carries on her career as a successful producer and magazine publisher, or returns to her promising acting career. »

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Michael J. Fox Magazine War

11 February 2002 | WENN | See recent WENN news »

Michael J. Fox has sparked a magazine war over first rights to extracts from his revealing new autobiography Lucky Man. The actor, who has Parkinson's Disease, struck a deal with showbiz weekly People magazine over first excerpt rights plus an interview, but Michael and his wife, actress Tracy Pollan, have since spoken to Oprah Winfrey and their heartbreaking story will now appear in her O magazine first. Oprah won't be including any extracts from the book as part of her interview, which will hit shelves on February 19, but bosses at People magazine fear the interview will ruin their big exclusive in March. Meanwhile, in the O interview, Fox reveals he was terrified about telling his wife of his illness when it was first diagnosed. He says, "There were a lot of questions I was afraid to ask Tracy like, `Does it scare you that I'm sick? Do you not love me because I'm sick.'" Fox's book hits bookshelves in America on April 2. »

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Howard Stern At War With Oprah

21 January 2002 | WENN | See recent WENN news »

Shock jock Howard Stern is waging a furious war of words with talk show queen Oprah Winfrey and her show's resident psychiatrist, Doctor Phil McGraw. After relentlessly blasting the Texas-based psychologist and branding him a phoney and a "wacko," Stern has been slapped with a cease-and-desist letter demanding he stop playing tapes of McGraw's appearances of Oprah's syndicated show. Stern, 48, says, "I think Dr Phil went and complained to Oprah. He doesn't like the fact that we actually expose him for being a wacko. He's a car salesman. Anybody who's really in the medical community knows this guy is a whack job. Only Oprah buys into him. Those who've seen real therapy know you don't just quick-fix yell at somebody and then they cry. It's a process. I applaud Jerry Springer 10 times more than Oprah. Jerry's show is what it is. Oprah is pretending she's helping someone, but it's all about getting ratings and more money. How much more money does she need before she stops humiliating people? Dr. Phil is not for real. I don't know why Oprah's pushing this garbage. I thought she was better than that." »

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Oprah Winfrey's Haunting Secret

14 January 2002 | WENN | See recent WENN news »

Oprah Winfrey's Chicago headquarters is a state-of-the-art facility, complete with the latest in cameras, lighting - and ghosts. The talk show queen's Harpo Studio complex, where she tapes her syndicated series, is haunted by the sounds of footsteps, a child crying, doors that open and close by themselves and the eerie spectre of a woman in a grey dress and old-fashioned hat. According to author Leslie Rule, who documents the supernatural sightings at Harpo in her new book Coast To Coast Ghosts, Oprah had never uttered a word about them and likely never will. Leslie jokes, "She's probably afraid her guests would run out of the studio and keep going." Leslie reveals that the old armory Oprah bought in 1988 and transformed into her home base was once at the center of a great maritime disaster. It became the body identification center for thousands of men, women and children killed on a capsized ship in 1915. The writer adds of Oprah, "I think she should book all the ghosts as guests. Maybe if they tell their story, they'll be released from this world and can move on. Plus, ratings would go through the roof!" »

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Fashion's Weakest Links

9 January 2002 | WENN | See recent WENN news »

An American fashion pundit has naming The Weakest Link host Anne Robinson as 2001's Worst Dressed Woman. In his damning list, style guru Mr Blackwell describes the British TV presenter as looking like "Harry Potter in drag." Pop princess Britney Spears is next on his 42nd annual worst list, for outfits he calls "belly-baring bombs". Actress Juliette Binoche boasts the dubious honour of coming third, and is termed "Le Gauche Binoche." All three members of Destiny's Child share fourth place on Blackwell's list, in recognition of their "Off-Pitch Kitsch." Numbers 5 to 10 are singer Bjork, Monaco's Princess Stephanie, actress Kate Hudson, Briton's Camilla Parker Bowles, and actresses Cameron Diaz and Gillian Anderson. On the positive side of his fashion spectrum, Blackwell names actress Julia Roberts as the winner of his "Fabulous Fashion Independents for 2001," followed by TV talk show host Oprah Winfrey and TV journalist Diane Sawyer. »

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